Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Arlen Spector Switch


(2) Democrats will understandably celebrate today’s announcement, but beyond the questions of raw political power, it is mystifying why they would want to build their majority by embracing politicians who reject most of their ostensible views.

Reports today suggest that Democratic officials promised Specter that the party establishment would support him, rather than a real Democrat, in a primary. If true, few events more vividly illustrate the complete lack of core beliefs of Democratic leaders, as well as the rapidly diminishing differences between the parties. Why would Democrats want a full-blooded Republican representing them in the blue state of Pennsylvania? Specter is highly likely to reprise the Joe Lieberman role for Democrats: a “Democrat” who leads the way in criticizing and blocking Democratic initiatives, forcing the party still further towards Republican policies.

(3) Arlen Specter is one of the worst, most soul-less, most belief-free individuals in politics. The moment most vividly illustrating what Specter is: prior to the vote on the Military Commissions Act of 2006, he went to the floor of the Senate and said what the bill "seeks to do is set back basic rights by some 900 years" and is "patently unconstitutional on its face." He then proceeded to vote YES on the bill's passage.

(4) Today is the best day to watch Fox News since the election -- mass grieving flavored by impotent bitterness.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Stonewalling Torture Investigation

April 24, 2009
Obama Resisting Push for Interrogation Panel

WASHINGTON — The White House and the Democratic leadership in the Senate signaled on Thursday that they would block for now any effort to establish an independent commission to investigate the Bush administration’s approval of harsh interrogation techniques.

In doing so, they sought to reduce pressure for a full inquiry — from, among others, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi — that has grown more intense since President Obama suggested on Tuesday that he would be open to such an investigation. While the White House has contended that Mr. Obama never actively supported an inquiry, his firmer opposition to the possibility, communicated to Congressional leaders in meetings on Wednesday night and Thursday, represented a shift in emphasis.

Meeting with the Democratic leadership on Wednesday night, Mr. Obama said a special inquiry would steal time and energy from his policy agenda, and could mushroom into a wider distraction looking back at the Bush years, people briefed on the discussion said. Mr. Obama, they said, repeated much the same message on Thursday at a bipartisan meeting with Congressional leaders.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and other top Senate Democrats endorsed Mr. Obama’s view on Thursday, telling reporters at a news conference at the Capitol that they preferred to wait for the results of an investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee expected late this year

“I think it would be very unwise, from my perspective, to start having commissions, boards, tribunals, until we find out what the facts are,” Mr. Reid said. “And I don’t know a better way of getting the facts than through the Intelligence Committee. I think that’s a pretty good way to do it.”

At the White House, Mr. Obama’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said that it was “not a time for retribution” and that “we’re all best suited looking forward.”

Glenn Greenwald has the definitive rundown on this.